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Get Started in Shares by Glen Arnold

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Five-year summary

Usually placed at the back of the report and accounts is a very useful five- or ten-year summary of key financial data. It is here that you can observe the historic pattern of growth in sales, profits, dividends, earnings per share, and a host of other important variables. An erratic pattern may be less attractive than a smooth one. Fast sales and profit growth with zero earnings per share growth will probably indicate large-scale acquisition of companies combined with regular issuance of shares. This is likely to be less attractive than more pedestrian organic sales and profit growth combined with rising earnings per share.

Beware of relying too much on these summary tables without understanding the detail behind them. Distortions ...

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